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  1. #1
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    Lane lines

    What can make a potentially great pool and swim meet (78-80 degree deep water, wide lanes, great gutter system, good starting blocks, great lighting, large scoreboard, excellent officials, etc.) into a mediocre one? The lane lines.

    We recently swam our championships in a new state-of-the-art pool. The only problem was the slack lane lines. The water was very choppy and continued that way throughout the whole race. They served no more purpose than the old “floaties” we used 45 years ago. They were so loose they visibly rose and fell with the waves and had so many horizontal waves they looked like serpents at the surface. The lane lines did not cut the waves but rather rode them. When there was a race with an open lane, the waves pushed the lane lines well into the free lane. Predictably overall times were not as fast as they could have been.

    It is not necessary to have the lane lines are tight as a piano wire in order for them to be effective, but tightening them up for a meet is an area that is most often neglected. We work too hard at our craft not to be given every opportunity to swim as fast as the pool allows.

  2. #2
    Active Member Janis's Avatar
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    Just about anyone could go up to an official and state you don't think the lane lines are sufficiently tight. It maybe a case where it was an oversight.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member Shaky's Avatar
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    I have had to ask the staff at my pool to tighten the lane ropes twice in the last week. We had one so loose that the old ladies bouncing up and down in the water aerobics class next to it had pushed it over so that the lane was 3/4 its normal width at the middle, and the swimmers in that lane were climbing all over each other and cracking each other's knuckles as they passed. The lanes are already narrow, and what with having to swim around the creatures floating in there, there's not much room to maneuver.

    I think I would be rather irritated if that kind of thing happened at a meet.

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    Very Active Member jean sterling's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Shaky
    I have had to ask the staff at my pool to tighten the lane ropes twice in the last week. We had one so loose that the old ladies bouncing up and down in the water aerobics class next to it had pushed it over so that the lane was 3/4 its normal width at the middle, and the swimmers in that lane were climbing all over each other and cracking each other's knuckles as they passed. .
    I had the same thing happen a while back at the Y where I swim. Can you believe this - the water aerobes actually complained that the swimmers were getting them wet, when they were standing in OUR LANE!! It is really difficult to circle swim in half a lane.
    Jean S.

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    Very Active Member cinc310's Avatar
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    Water aeobric people in the same lane. I don't have that problem at the rec pool since they have there classes earlier. I would thing that a Y would do the same thing. On the other hand, at the health club pool where you can put in only one land and only one person fits in it. it can get crowded and like you say you have to do circle swimming.

  6. #6
    Very Active Member jean sterling's Avatar
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    Originally posted by cinc310
    Water aeobric people in the same lane.
    They were in the same lane because of a very loose lane line. They leaned against it so that only half a lane was left for the swimmers. And then they complained about getting wet!! Another annoyance is when they lay their equipment (woggles, those leg weight things) on the lane line, so that you hit against it as you swim by.

    When we have masters practice we always swim three or four to a lane.
    Jean S.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Shaky's Avatar
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    Angry

    Originally posted by jean sterling
    Another annoyance is when they lay their equipment (woggles, those leg weight things) on the lane line, so that you hit against it as you swim by.
    The way I handle that is to stop, grab whatever it is and hurl it to the deck at the far side of the pool. You should see their faces. Hey, it shouldn't have been there.

    So far no one has challenged me on it. Perhaps I look unhappy.

    That's still not the worst problem I have with them. One of their "exercises" involves rolling forward onto their stomaches and kicking way out behind them near the surface. They kick under the ropes, and I've taken shots to the ribs and legs. They're generally pretty weak, but it's still a shock to get a foot in your side in the pool.

    I {{{hate}}} this Y. I've looked for another pool, but this one ends up being the only one workable with my work schedule.

  8. #8
    USMS Member since 2003 gull's Avatar
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    Interesting thing about water aerobics; I've had a number of patients with significant heart disease who experience angina with only modest effort but have no symptoms while doing water aerobics. For some reason lap swimmers are not a top priority in many pools.

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    I'm taking the water jogger gloves off...

    You guys hit a nerve with me. Let me preface that there are sports that I do not understand or attempt but that I respect (squash, curling, monster trucks). But, water aerobics is truly not one of them.

    Has anyone ever been in a lap lane, even with tightly drawn non turbulent lane lines, when, all of a sudden, you are violently pulled into the lane lines? Well, this has happened to me recently. When I poked my head up I realized the water aerobicizers were all moving in the same direction in a circle causing a horrible aqua vortex.

    Next, I have yet to see a fit water aerobicizer. The instructors usually look fit but the jokers in the water defy any definition of fitness. If you can't lower yourself into water without help, maybe you shouldn't be doing strenuous physical activities.

    Third, I have seen plenty of these people floating on noodles while doing the exercise, despite the pool being 4' deep. What kind of workout is this? Don't come back at me with range of motion and "atl least they are trying" arguments. Water arthritis I understand helps this but aerobics is intended to raise heart rate and increase fitness. You can't do that while on a noodle.

    Fourth, they constantly complain about cold pool temperature, despite the fact most Ys keep their pools at 84.

    And, lastly, they hug the lane lines and give you awfully dirty looks if you splash them at all. This is clearly the only form of exercise where physical exertion and sweat are anathema to the actual workout.

    I know I am out of line on this. Sorry for the rant.

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    Maybe I can shed a little light and help redirect some comments. First off the saying "If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem"really holds true. If you have a problem with the water aerobics (We call it AquaX) you need to bring this to the facility managements attention (maybe you have I'm not sure - and if you have and they haven't changed then you know where their priorties are). Shaky, have you tried talking to the instructor about the equipement and having participants too close to the lane line, the instructor might not be aware of this, they obviously have a duty to ensure they are conducting their class in a safe manner, also let the lifeguard know, once again they are there to ensure everyone's safety.

    Aquageek, last I checked water aerobics was exercise not a sport.
    Complaining about a change in water current/conditions because of there exercises, what's next complaining about a wake from a fast swimmer next to you. And your last comment about how they look at you when they get splashed which annoys them, just as their vortex bothers you.
    Your comment about the fitness level really bothers me, as if all Master swimmers look like they should be on the cover of fitness/shape magazine. The reason maybe someone can't get in or out of the pool by themselves could be injury or other health problems, if you have been to swim meets not every master swimmer gets in or out of the pool by themselves yet they still let them compete.
    The fact that people are getting in the water and trying something, any movement is good. Have you ever tried any of the exercises you might be surprised, some of them really do work on that important core strength and body balance. Some of the exercises do look easy but if you work on controling your body properly they do become more difficult. The other fact that maybe these people aren't as adapt to having fun, or they see their workout as a little social time, whats wrong with that ?
    The pool temp will always be an issue (I agree 84 is too warm) most swimmers like to see 80 or so, AquaX people (and swim lesson) like mid 80's so keeping at 84 is a bit of a compromise leaning more towards the AquaX and Lesson people - but they probably make up the bulk of the pool users, not the lap swimmers.

    These are my personal and professional opinions. I am an aquatics manager, I don't manage a Y but the pool at another fitness center. All of our AquaX instructors are certified (AEA) some are even land based aerobic instructors. Not all facilities have the luxury I do, well trained aquatic professionals and the resources and freedom to ensure we provide quality aquatic programming. I used Aqua exercises to recently rehab knee surgery (ACL reconstruction from a hamstring graft and repair of a torn medial meniscus) I was able to start running slightly in under 4 months and was back playing water polo in just over 4 months. My first day in the pool I could barely get in and out because of the knee surgery but within 2 weeks it wasn't a problem - I give a lot of credit to a fast recovery because of doing some of the exercises that are done in what some people would deem useless water aerobic classes.

  11. #11
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Good response

    Your points are well made and clarify things for me somewhat. I still maintain that I have yet to see a sport/exercise that has the overabundance of unfit and unhealthy people as I see in water aerobics.

    And, I have been to my share of masters meets and have seen quite a few being helped into the water or out of it. To a person, each of these swimmers would put any water aerobics class to shame both in terms of fitness and ability.

  12. #12
    Very Active Member laineybug's Avatar
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    Kaelonj Thank you for supporting the water aerobics folks.
    Confession time here. I do the water aerobics class twice a week at my pool. Aquageek, you are right, some of the folks in the class are far out of shape, but they are doing something to get into shape... everyone has to start somewhere. And you are also right that for someone who is in shape the class is not aerobic However, aerobic fitness, endurance and speed are not the end all/ultimate goals for everyone. I time my swim workout so I am swimming slow easy cool down laps just before the water aerobics class begins, then I paddle on over, participate and cool down a little bit more... it is a good stretch. Recently, the class has been doing ai chi as part of its workouts. You think the water aerobic exercises don't look difficult, you should watch the slow ballet like movements of an ai chi class--those postures, believe it or not, are harder to perform correctly than most of the water aerobic exercises we do. Since beginning ai chi my flexibility has increased. I even think it has helped my endurance some because, like tai chi, ai chi stresses breathing correctly as one performs the postures. What I'm trying to say is everyone gets out of an activity, what they put into it.

    The water aerobics folks pay their dues just as lap swimmers do and have a right to use the pool in a manner they find fit. Look at it this way... would you rather have the times you can swim laps restricted so lap swimmers and water aerobics aren't in the pool at the same time? Guess we are lucky at our pool because as far as I know lapswimmers (and I know most of them) and water aerobics folks (and I know most of them too) co exist peacfully.

  13. #13
    Very Active Member emmett's Avatar
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    From the perspective of the facility operator (I've got a dozen or so years experience in this capacity), lap swimmers are, in many cases, the low priority user group on the list. A couple of the posts in this thread serve to illustrate at least some of the reasons why.

    It has been my experience that lap swimmers tend to be the most demanding (in some cases, militant) patrons in the facility. They tend to be more territorial (that's MY lane) than other groups. If there is no resident swim team, lap swimmers are the ONLY group that complains when the water gets above 82 degrees. They often think, perhaps because there are lane lines and a stripe on the bottom, that they have a greater right to use the pool than do others. They often labor under the delusion that lap swimming is a better or more worthy use of pool space that other endeavors.

    Are ALL lap swimmers like this? No. But it only takes a few at any given facility to give ALL the lap swimmers there a bad name.

    My experience has been (and when facility operators compare notes I see the same trend) that the people who cause the greatest headaches for the operator generally come from the ranks of lap swimmers.

    Perhaps this all stems from spending countless hours staring at the black line with the metronome of countless strokes burning a hole through the part of the brain responsible for sociable behavior. In the many years I operated large facilities the ONLY people I've had to suspend privileges for have been lap swimmers. In all but one case it was for antisocial behavior (grabbing someone else's equipment and throwing it out of the pool, if witnessed by the lifeguard, would get you a day or so of cooling off at the very least).

    As someone who now makes his living from pool time and space rented for swimmers to use (my Masters team, clinics, lessons), I realize that we are guests of the facility and that our privilege to use the space we rent can disappear in a heartbeat if I, or one of my swimmers, abuse that privilege.

    I'm aware of more than a few cases where facility operators have expanded lesson or water aerobic programs at the expense of lap swim or group swim opportunities. Sometimes this is strictly a dollar/resources driven action (lap swimmers are generally among the smallest contributors to the financial strength of the facility yet their space/participant ratio is high compared to other groups - our water aerobics would routinely have a dozen or more people per lane). In other cases there are contributing factors as noted above.

    Whether you are a member of a facility, a member of a group that rents facility space, or you simply pay a daily lap fee, you have a privilege that is no greater, no more worthy, no more sacred than the privilege others at the facility have. Abuse yours and it will disappear - that's as it should be. But the real shame is when one or two people screw up lap or group swimming privileges for others.
    Coach Emmett Hines - ASCA Level 5
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    emmett@usms.org

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    How about bowling, gotta love bowling what other sport seems to promote drinking and smoking (of course that is my take from my own experiences, golf can be considered up there too I guess). The point about the fitness level of water exercise participants can be a little misleading (experiences may vary). As Laineybug said these people have to start somewhere, some participants because of health reasons may not be able to do land, weight bearing type exercises (this includes arthritis, fibriomalygia, any cardio vascular problems, and the list goes on) but when you put these people in the water, they have a new source of empowerment, able to control themselves for the most part). True not all participants are this way, but the fact they are out and moving should be a credit. Look at the trend in assisted care housing, not to long ago it used to be bingo and TV now they are getting these people moving, even if in a wheel chair using a simple balloon to work on muscle control of the hand may get a stroke victim back to where they can hold a utensil and feed themselves instead of someone else feeding them. I would love to be able to cater to every members specific aquatic needs, unfortunately I would need about 10 pools, one for teaching lessons, one for Aqua exercise, a deep water play pool a shallow water play pool a warm water lap pool a serious competition pool, etc, this is very unfeasible so there needs to be a little compromise and tolerance of other activities, and if there is a problem information and education are your best weapons.
    Sorry for the soapbox, I'll get down now I have to go move some lanes lines to get ready for our lap swimmers.

  15. #15
    Active Member Phil M.'s Avatar
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    I think that it is safe to say that most lap swimmers don't understand (or we don't want to understand - because we must justify our own pain) the benefits of those WaterX classes. Why would you get into a pool with a brand-new hair-do? I guarantee it is not because you want to elevate your heart rate. Anyway, I'm sure that in another 30 years I will better understand what the point is, and in the meantime, I will be very thankful for them supporting the pool finances.

    If you want to scare off some of these would-be water athletes (floaters) then maybe you could explain that they could benefit physically more from a land based activity. Being water bound contributes to Osteoporosis. (for all of us)

    http://www.spma.net/swimosteo.htm

  16. #16
    Very Active Member laineybug's Avatar
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    you don't think water aerobics can elevate your heart beat? try doing forty five minutes of exercise in the water holding your arms/hands above your heart... thats what I do when I want something more intense than what the instructor is doing. Water aerobics can also help a person develop enough strength to participate in weight bearing/land exercises.

  17. #17
    Active Member Phil M.'s Avatar
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    Lainybug: I wasn't saying that WaterX can't raise your heartrate. I was saying that I don't think you can raise your heartrate in a swimming pool without getting your hair wet. Which is the case of the WaterX ladies at my Y.

    (or maybe I'm just not that coordinated )

    I'm sure that we have a graduate student in physiology amongst us that could do a study and write a dissertation on this subject. "Is motion required to achieve aerobic benefit"

  18. #18
    Very Active Member jean sterling's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Phil M.
    Lainybug: I wasn't saying that WaterX can't raise your heartrate. I was saying that I don't think you can raise your heartrate in a swimming pool without getting your hair wet. Which is the case of the WaterX ladies at my Y.
    This is also the case at my Y.
    Jean S.

  19. #19
    Very Active Member emmett's Avatar
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    Water exercise classes can be VERY high intensity without getting heads wet. I've seen classes that are every bit as energetic as a high intensity swimming workout. Boxer Evander Holyfield used to come do water exercise in my pool at University of Houston (his trainer at the time was an ex-UH varsity swimmer). His routine would have been a huge challenge for ANY any Masters swimmer. And he didn't get his hair wet.

    It all depends on what the instructor asks of his group.
    Coach Emmett Hines - ASCA Level 5
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    http://H2OustonSwims.org
    emmett@usms.org

  20. #20
    Very Active Member laineybug's Avatar
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    lol, if my hair wasn't already wet from swimming my laps, I wouldn't get my hair wet either during the water aerobics class. And, as I mentioned above, when I want I can raise my heartbeat during class.

    My question is... how do you know that the ladies who don't get their hair wet, don't raise their heartbeats? Just because it doesn't look strenous enough to you, doesn't mean its not to them.

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